The End of Tabula Rasa

I just caught this over at MMOG Nation. Was not expecting Tabula Rasa to close. I figured they would fight it out for a good while before they ended up deciding to pull the plug.

To the Tabula Rasa Community,

Last November we launched what we hoped would be a ground breaking sci-fi MMO. In many ways, we think we’ve achieved that goal. Tabula Rasa has some unique features that make it fun and very different from every other MMO out there. Unfortunately, the fact is that the game hasn’t performed as expected. The development team has worked hard to improve the game since launch, but the game never achieved the player population we hoped for.

So it is with regret that we must announce that Tabula Rasa will end live service on February 28, 2009.

Before we end the service, we’ll make Tabula Rasa servers free to play starting on January 10, 2009.

– Ethic

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I own this little MMO gaming blog but I hardly ever write on it any more. I'm more of a bloglord or something. Thankfully I have several minions to keep things rolling along.

9 thoughts on “The End of Tabula Rasa”

  1. This surprises me so much that it’s $15/month or nothing with NCSoft. This and Auto Assault makes NCSoft seem like not an intelligent corporation sometimes. I hear good things about Aion’s popularity, which is good for NCSoft, but I fail to see how Planetside or MxO or Asheron’s Call can keep ticking on some level but not TR.

  2. Rav, I definitely blame the $15/month mentality. It’s just a poor business model in a saturated market. If turning a profit hinges on a critical mass of subbers rather than a critical mass of box sales, it’s much more susceptible to the vagaries of a wonky market. (And we here in the U.S. are in a very wonky market.)

  3. Maybe everyone has gone home to play WoW for the day, but only three comments on the death of this game (two from KTR writers!) is a huge freaking indictment of this game. I tried to play TR once upon a time and failed in every way possible. As much as I hope companies will learn from this, no one has learned from any of yesteryear’s spectacular failures.

  4. When TR first came out. One of my co-workers picked it up and played for a while. I gave it a try on his laptop and, while the game was kinda interesting, it simply didn’t hold my attention long enough for me to pick it up myself.

    I liked where they were going with having capturable bases and AI armies, but it ended up being more of an FPS (particularly so when there were less players on).

    Perhaps if they had restructured the game as an FPS with some scaled back roleplaying aspects, the game might have been a good competitor for Battlefield 2042 and the like. Oh well, at least Garriot got to go to space.

  5. Amazing. Just over a year old, and it’s on the scrap heap. That said, it’s of their own doing. I gave TR a red hot go when it launched – hoping that a game with such an intriguing title might possess some equally intriguing gameplay. Sadly, it was eminently forgettable. The only highlights were fighting for outposts against waves of NPCs, but even that ran thin after a while.

    For an MMO to compete in this market it either needs to do one of two things: i) be slick, accessible and addictive (WoW, CoX, maybe WAR) or ii) satisfy a niche with specialised and focused gameplay (EVE). TR was neither of these. Its innovations were uninspiring, the world was pretty shallow, the gameplay was pretty routine, there was no push towards grouping etc. It’s like Garriott was asleep on the job, or resting on his laurels rather than pushing to create something that was actually fun. One can only hope that future MMOs learn from TR’s failure.

  6. Color me unsurprised. I gave it a good go during beta, and it was still pretty clunky a couple weeks from release. Instead of responding to tester feedback, there was deathly silence from the developer front – not a good sign for any MMO to have devs in denial.

    Speed of response to bugs was very unsatisfactory for a $15 subscription game. I would totally forgive them for things like mobs shooting through walls, lack of any functional crafting system at launch, and the strangest class tree with unbalanced skills ever – even if others won’t. I would have been satisfied with a simple acknowledgement – yep, there’s a problem, we’re working on it as fast we can.

    Instead, the nail in the coffin was Richard Garriott coming out to insult his testing population for being too negative and driving Tabula Rasa into the ground. Oh my, what a fantastic way to push blame onto others.

    While I liked the dynamic spawns, and the idea of control points, TR’s gameplay was very standard MMO-esque with a clunkier-than-a-real-FPS playing view. That was another breaking point for me, there was always something a little “off” about the mouselook, not as fast or smooth as a real FPS, and even some MMOs did better. I’m used to fairly high twitch and I could never pivot fast enough for my liking. (And those ugly crab-stance legs on the avatar as it rotated!)

    I might give it a little spin again once it switches over to free, but unless they managed to pull off a spectacular overhaul on various systems, a chronic problem tends to remain a chronic problem.

  7. I enjoyed TR when I played it, but there didn’t seem to be enough people playing :-(

    2 good things I remember:
    – I really enjoyed the ability to play through the instances solo or with a small team.
    – Cloning.

  8. It’s a pity. It wasn’t an amazing game, but it’s better than some of the stuff that is staying alive forever. Just the crossover market from CoH folk should have been enough to keep it running with the right price structure, but this wasn’t it, and it wasn’t enough game or support for 15 USD/month.

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